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Kilimanjaro climb

Kilimanjaro

(author A. Trubachev)

photographs

Expedition to Africa in January 2007, with the ascent to Kenya and Kilimanjaro, was organized by the School of Mountaineering and Climbing AlexClimb, with the support of the Italian company CAMP

Africa, Tanzania, climbing Kilimanjaro

When Bismarck's successor Kaiser Wilhelm asked Kilimanjaro from Queen Victoria, the request is looked more like an ultimatum ... The political situation in Europe is not allowed to even think about the refusal of such a whim leader of the strongest European power ... As a result of this small historical fact, quite modern direct border between Kenya and Tanzania makes intricate loop skirting the highest mountain in Africa in order to turn it into a part of Tanzania - a former German colony.
This historical detail radically affected the current economic situation in these East African countries: the income from the tourist boom on Kilimanjaro is sizeable proportion of the national budget Tanzania. A Kenya remained content with the second highest mountain in Africa, the River Tana, beautiful waterfalls and a small piece of Lake Victoria ...

Africa, Tanzania, climbing KilimandzharoVpervye foot white man set foot on the then completely covered by glaciers, the flat top of Kilimanjaro 5 October 1889. First conquerors were famous Austrian traveler and geographer Hans Meyer from Leipzig and experienced climber Ludwig Purtscheller.
Thrice Meyer tried to climb to the top of Kilimanjaro, but only the third attempt failed, and the climbers managed to reach the highest point of "Roof of Africa" - an extinct volcano, today bears the name of Kibo. But on old maps Tanzania you will not find such a name - the highest peak of Kilimanjaro to the peak is called the Kaiser Wilhelm - the name given by Meyer in honor of the Emperor of Germany, the nephew of Queen Victoria.

Name of Kilimanjaro - untouched by political ups and downs of colonial times historical name given to the natives of the sacred mountain radiant; in Swahili Kilima Ndzharo means "Shining Mountain".

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In the town of Moshi at the foot of the highest peak in Africa, the dusty heat of the evening complement terrible fuss: the abundance of tourists has given rise to a flurry of various proposals from the local population - from outright fraud to quite honest, although African-compulsive attempts to sell something mined its own, so to speak , labor.
From the attacks of street crooks helped quite a bit dark tan Kenyan - to white-skinned Europeans especially attacked fiercely. In addition, a few phrases in Swahili, which I learned in the past few days, had literally magical effect - a street vendor, usually adhering to foreigners for at least half an hour, he heard the familiar words, evaporated at the same moment.

Africa, Tanzania, climbing KilimandzharoOpredelёnnogo Action Plan we have not been planning to climb Kilimanjaro, we decided to act on the situation - an approach is not devoid of a certain amount of adventure, but interesting for its unpredictability.
Unfortunately, there is some specificity of Kilimanjaro: completely independently organize climbing impossible - to obtain the permit (license for climbing) requires mediation Tanzanian tour operator, this rule Kilimanjaro National Park. This is the statement we had the face of a gentleman by the name of Joyful Stone, which during a fierce two-hour auction, we came to a certain financial consensus.

We spent the night at a local inn - cheap accommodation, services which are mainly local salespeople. Squat dilapidated one-story house, a room with five beds, on each of which a white cloud hanging knotted mosquito net - a constant attribute of all African hotels as expensive and the cheapest. The black population to examine unusual hotel guests with friendly curiosity: white people do not often use this overnight.

Africa, Tanzania, climbing KilimandzharoKstati, here I am a little distracted, and said a few words about typical for both Kenya and Tanzania with respect to visitors in particular and in general between people. Cheerful friendly - I think this is the most accurate definition. All the time spent in Africa, I never even noticed the signs of aggression - not in big cities or in tiny villages. People smile, looking into each other's eyes and you. Another issue is that you try to deceive a thousand times, vparit something unnecessary or simply steal, but it will all be done without the slightest hint of malice, with a joyful smile from ear to ear. The above works and obviously conflict situations - for example, when the bus driver swerved to the curb directly under the wheels of a huge truck and two cars to avoid collision miraculously - Africans exchanged (only) a few words, and parted smiling (we would fight ensued for a few seconds ).
Y-yes ... for Russian tourists, this phenomenon is particularly noticeable and unusual :)

On the street there were no signs yet dawn, but low on the horizon pale yellow moon shone through a light haze clouds. Chance to wake Service did not have any - half an hour before the set time screams muezzins, repeatedly amplified loudspeakers, rang from all over the city. Arab preachers worked here obviously with great success, than their European counterparts. I do not know how well all this howling effect on the faithful, but our group he picked any better tocsin - 10 minutes later they were all on their feet.

Machine, promised joyful Stone, late just for 40 minutes - amazing for Africa punctuality, and soon we were shaking in a huge jeep, with interest examining clearly visible from the road, a huge, covered in pink from sunrise snow mountain with a flat top. On the side of Kilimanjaro did not seem any high or distant mountain. On the contrary, stocky, heavily truncated pyramid on top looked compact and it is unclear why this ascent is laid for five days ...

Africa, Tanzania, climbing KilimandzharoCherez hour and a half we disembarked on the ground in front of a pretty decent set of administrative buildings, located on the edge of a huge eucalyptus grove. Marangu Gate - here comes the classic and probably the most popular climbing route on Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro National Park - one of the most profitable enterprises Tanzania, bringing millions of dollars annually and provides most of the earnings of the local population. At a sufficiently high level of the organization there are a number of features or even strange, unique to this national park. Here I will say a few words about them.
Kilimanjaro National Park - one of the richest and best-organized national parks of Tanzania and Kenya. Park imposes on its visitors a number of strict requirements, but it is unlikely you will be able to find them in official sources. Neither the Internet nor in the office of the National Park you will not give complete information about the rules and prices.
The first and most important rule is to be reckoned with - you have to arrange a visit to the National Park Kilimanjaro only through citizen of Tanzania, with a special license of the National Park. Information about prices you get from the operator, all other sources of this issue delicately bypassed.
The next rule - on the route you have to use the services of a local guide provided by the operator. In terms of the complexity of the route of any need for this, Tanzanian guide - is the person who will be dragged behind you all the way, begging for tips, and your own money nastuchit you if (God forbid) you breach any of kakoe- rules of conduct in the National Park. But without this "guide" you may not even take a step outside the gates of the park. There is a vague limit on the number of people per guide, but accurate information is covered by a veil of mystery.
Further there is a rule that you have to hire porters. Even if you plan to carry your own stuff (which, by the way, it makes sense for better acclimatization). The number of required porters and their cost as well it turns out empirically. In our case, a group of four, we had a guide and a porter, with many of the groups met wonder how we managed to get rid of a little blood - like, according to the rules of parasites should be more ...
In short, if summarized above, the cost of a visit to the National Park Kilimanjaro varies widely and depends on your ability and willingness to fierce bidding, without which, generally acquire anything in Africa means to pay the real cost of dozens of times. However, if you buy the whole entire tour in a civilized tour operator, then the problem lies with all the nuances of solutions for an operator who sells you the tour, and the need to agree with all of you does not arise. So what most visitors Kilimanjaro National Park.

So, my story paused for a moment, when we threw out of the jeep backpacks in the parking lot Marangu Gate. Sway some time around and making sure that the staff of the park is not to give any useful information, as well as become acquainted with several groups of compatriots on their way as we do, upstairs, I joined the group. At this point, Joyful Stone has found us a compulsory guide and porter, and wished a safe journey and promised to meet us after five days in the same place. The ascent began.

Africa, Tanzania, climbing KilimandzharoNado pay tribute to that with all the confusion with the rules of the national park, the organization and equipment of the route are close to ideal. The fact that the Marangu route is extremely popular, hundreds of people pass through it every day. As while maintaining clean natural environment, not to disturb the delicate balance alpine ecosystem? I must say that on Kilimanjaro (at least on the Marangu route) with this yet successfully addressed. Of course, the route is completely devoid of any extreme. He straightened, combed and compacted to you, God forbid, do not stumble .. The road almost to the summit neat and tidy, laid stones around the edges, or trickle through each groove spanned a reliable bridge, every two or three kilometers to the edge of the road are equipped with destinations - dug into the ground a few tables, benches soundly whipped, toilet - everything is done conscientiously, iron-bound ...

The route is divided into several sections of 10-15 kilometers, each of which is equipped with very comfortable huts. Overnight in tents are allowed only in designated areas, but special reason not to hut not, its cost is included in the cost of the permit.

The first two hours the way we entertain a bunch of kids, seeds along the road and beg dollar. They sing-song in broken English vying complained about the lack of parents, funds for the purchase of textbooks, clothes and shoes, and other disasters. But after Volodya, angry, bad voice sang the anthem of the Soviet Union, kids, terrified, gushed into the bushes and no longer appeared. A couple of times to meet the rushing gallop across negros rolling in front of two-wheeled car, which straps were attached half dead body mountain climbers who become ill en route or simply overestimated their strength ...

Africa, Tanzania, climbing KilimandzharoShirokaya, sprinkled fine gravel road led gently upwards, almost winding under the canopy of huge entwined vines trees. I was walking, having fun that was looking for in a dense green bush chameleon - in the words of trudging in the tail guide, these creatures live in the bushes whole cloud. But the eye of no one caught. In crowns occasionally flashed long tails furry monkeys. The road to the first camp - Mandara hut, located at an altitude of 2700 m took no more than two and a half hours. Already on the way to the camp we caught up with the young porter, according to local custom carrying on her head a large basket with baggage.
- Why basket rather than a backpack or bag, for example? - I asked.
- National Park forbids us to wear products in backpacks, they can become wrinkled, - said the porter.
- A neck does not hurt?
- No, I have a child so I wear the basket.
And really, the guy was carrying a basket on his head with such ease, as if it were a natural extension of his spine. Intrigued, I asked the basket to try this alternative way to carry cargo. Porter happily smiled Africa, Tanzania, climbing Kilimandzharoi took off his burden. Shopping was five times heavier than I expected, 25 pounds that way .. Using Porter I hoisted myself on top of her and took a few hesitant steps. Then he squinted and, without turning his head, looked at the puny boy who a few minutes ago, skipping rode side by side, not even holding hands this fool! Sweating, I limped the remaining two hundred meters from the camp, and then returned to the owner basket, myself thanking progress for inventing such a useful device as anatomical rucksack.

The next day, leaving at dawn, at noon, we were already in this camp - Horombo, at an altitude of 3720m. Little by little, there is a feeling of height, rise, although very shallow (kilometer climb accounted for about 12-14 km.), Did not seem as easy as yesterday. It has become colder. The landscape has also changed: the previous camp was in the thick humid forest, which, with the rise of thinned, then turned into the bushes, covered with long beards of lichen. Suddenly the forest was over and opened quite pretty grim landscape alpine desert, snow-white dome topped away Kilimanjaro. In the afternoon the weather turned bad, and those groups that are too lazy to how we get out early, came to the camp in the rain.

Africa, Tanzania, climbing KilimandzharoEschё one overnight stay in a standard triangular wooden house, and on the third day, half an hour before dawn we are again on the trail. Clear skies gradually acquires first purple, then a pinkish hue, the clouds on the horizon brighter colored in red. Climbing up on a small hill, I froze the beauty opened before me the picture. In full display in front of the entire top of the Great Shining Mountains. It really shine! The sun, still lurking over the horizon, already touched the top and painted the snow cap in a bright red color, contrast with the background of the dark blue sky. Extraordinary spectacle ... hypnotic. You'll see this in the picture - think: nice .. But when you stand with this beauty face to face, such a definition for some reason comes to mind. It is impossible to explain, but, once experienced, then you realize all the descriptions are useless, once is enough to get through this time ...
But now the sun rose higher, and the magic was gone. Apex gradually acquired its normal white color, the play of colors disappeared warmer.
Ironically, the majority of climbers did not like these incredible moments of sunrise. Crushed mountain sickness and lazy porters, they got up late and went to the route, when the sun climbs high and significantly beat down ... And as our team was neither one nor the other - acclimatization to Kenya has kept from altitude sickness, but from Travel staff were only imposed on the National park guide and a porter, not burdened with a heavy load, it does not hurt to get up early and by the time of sunrise already be on the way.
Like the day before, by noon we reached the camp - the last on this route Hut - Kibo, vzhavshis the rock at an altitude of 4700m. Africa, Tanzania, Kilimanjaro climbing Unlike previous camps, Kibo hut built of stone. In the room with bunk beds, even located on the sunny side, cold and dank as a cellar. A lot of people, but the mood is not as optimistic as in the lower camps - it is here that many understand that the forces on the final push is no longer ...
Snow that never fell on this new year in Moscow, Kilimanjaro had in abundance - not even believe that this is the mountain, which in the world and only heard: oh, melted snow cap, no more snow on Kilimanjaro .. snow islands began slightly below Kibo Huts and 100-150 meters above the snow cover has already been continuous - even skate skiing.
Rest of the day we spent in quite a relaxed state - to gather strength to climb.
On average, from Kibo hut before the official peaks of Kilimanjaro - Uhuru Peak rise for 7-8 hours. The standard time-to-route - 0.00.

The idea to go to the route at midnight I just did not like. The difference in height between the camp and the summit of 1300 meters, relatively few, even on Elbrus so early not start, although there is more to go. But talking to people, I found that at 12 at night almost the entire population of the hut - about 30 people - going to go the route. Gritting his heart, I decided to also begin at this time - still everyone will roam and sleep will not give.

Africa, Tanzania, climbing KilimandzharoLuna managed to climb, walk across the sky and almost disappear behind the mountain, when we came out of the hut, and moved behind a chain specks of white light dancing on the snow - going ahead climbers shone his feet diode flashlight. Slowly and sadly, long loops serpentine we gained altitude on a completely flat, snow-covered slopes with a gradient of about 20 degrees. Soon caught up with one group, then another. Three hours later smoothly swaying lanterns loomed already far below, and overhead shone only dotted with big stars of the sky. They were so bright that it was not possible even to make out where the familiar constellations - all blended in a blinding glare.
Suddenly our poor fellow-guide all the way to hobble the last began to show signs of restlessness. It turned out that he did not expect to have such a hurried and took the overall pace, quickly spёksya. After half an hour we came to a pronounced saddle on the edge of the crater - Gilmans Point, height 5700 to the summit from here most - hour traverse along the edge of the crater. The guide completely fell apart, almost in tears, said that I would not go. Cause of the disease was banal - thinking that, like most climbers, we cheerfully get to Kibo hut, spend the night, torment of a headache and go down the night before our attendant sufficed surpluses and all the way hung over ...
But this concern was to acquire and me, but quite another matter. There has never been, and four o'clock in the morning, and it becomes clear what a mistake this early exit: we had every chance to be on top well before dawn! I wanted to see the sunrise at the top - even more so that a clear starry sky promised incredible beauty play a couple of hours ... But to be there for a half hour before sunrise meant left with nothing - is extremely doubtful that someone will come to mind to wait for the dawn on windswept highest point of Kilimanjaro. Already on Gilmans Point temperature dropped to - 10, in conjunction with a fresh breeze came out pretty chilly.
Africa, Tanzania, climbing KilimandzharoNemnogo consultation, we posted a guide down, and themselves, to slow down to the limit, headed trodden in deep snow thick trail. Particularly slow to go, too, failed, and, despite all their efforts, after 40 minutes at the near post with a mound seemed attached to it with wooden signs - the world-famous sign placed on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro 80 years ago ...
Strange climbing ... We got up in the middle of the night five hours in pitch darkness stomped up the trail, dawn reached some hill ёzhas the piercing wind, formally photographed against a background of the sign and in the same darkness went down. Heaven only slightly beginning to lighten in the east. Feeling some absurdities haunted me at this moment. It seems to be made, they succeeded, and on the other in a strange way - it's like that go to the museum, where all the pictures taken on the restoration or visit the theater when there is no actors ...

Africa, Tanzania, climbing KilimandzharoSolntse seemed on the horizon when we went down to Gilmans Point. Behind the back of the fire raging purple top, and can be the envy of those who happened to be there on time! But the best - enemy of the good, and instead of complaining about what did not work, should rejoice in the fact that it was available: the dawn turned out fantastic!
It all started with a brighter glow flared up in the east, then to the west across the sky went dark blue stripe, sank to the horizon, leaving a light in the sky purple, pale air and make transparent. Then, right before our eyes, began to change color bizarre glaciers on top - gray color changed to dark purple, which is lighter, closer to blue, but suddenly began to rapidly gain a pink hue, and soon across the top of the fire burned bright red dawn: narrow margin sun peeked over the horizon, hesitated, as if shaking off the remnants of a sleepy stupor, and surely the beginning of a long day's journey across the sky.

Africa, Tanzania, climbing KilimandzharoSneg quickly lost night toughness, became sticky and pliable - Ideal for descent, when each step forward slip a meter and a half and instead petlyaniya serpentine move quickly down the line ... Two hours later, we have drinking tea at Kibo Hut, gathering his strength before continuing the descent - the night again at an altitude of 4700 made no sense, it was necessary to descend to Horombo camp, to the next day to get to the Marangu Gate.

For the novice climber, not the experienced vicissitudes in high-altitude, apparently Kilimanjaro may seem readily available, easy mountain ... It seems to be no difficulty, trail ... Come let yourself go. What could be wrong with it ?! Such an approach is quite typical for most visitors to the National Park Kilimanjaro. However, the percentage of successful ascents, even on the easiest route - Marangu, does not exceed 25% of the total number of climbers ...
Despite its apparent simplicity, Kilimanjaro is still quite high and serious top, requiring a serious relationship and compliance with all rules regarding the establishment and graphics climb. Haste and carelessness lead to defeat. All I can advise - pay heed to the construction of the program - a shortened version suitable only for athletes with sufficient altitude experience. And in order to really enjoy the ascent of Kilimanjaro, you need to pay as much attention to acclimatization of the program, up to Kenya Meru or Kilimanjaro before, have a good rest before climbing - all this will allow you to get the most positive impressions, and the chances of success of the event increase significantly.

Africa, Tanzania, climbing KilimandzharoKto something to say for sure what climbing is unsportsmanlike and not interesting. Indeed, even the most "difficult" routes on Kilimanjaro, such as the "gap" or "West lava flow," have nothing to do with technical sport climbing. But consider Kilimanjaro with sports and mountaineering point of view does not make any sense - climbing this mountain is interesting for informational and aesthetic terms, as a rather long and not without certain physical difficulties at the same time quite comfortable walk under the equatorial highlands, giving full opportunity to evaluate their feelings of familiarity with the height, enjoy the stunning, unique landscapes, while not exposing themselves to any risk usually inherent in sport climbing classes.

Kilimanjaro is the pinnacle of which is available for people who have no climbing experience, one of a kind, unique beauty of mountain climbing which can be an amazing adventure, the impressions of which do not fade over the years ...
As for me - I sincerely hope that more than once I have the opportunity to climb to the top of Kilimanjaro - Shining Mountains, the roof of Africa, is deservedly considered one of the most beautiful corners of the globe ...

Our Principles

AlexClimb Rule #1 - Safety First

From the very beginning of our activity, here nearly 16 years, the first Principle of work of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb is the Safety Priority. On the basis of this Principle all process of training is based, all programs and rounds are developed and carried out only within this main principle. We consider that at professional approach to development of programs, at personal discipline and correctly put motivation - occupations by mountaineering and rock-climbing are COMPLETELY safe. And from the return - all troubles and accidents in our sport come from nonprofessionalism, from ignorance or neglect by elementary standards of safety, from irrational motivation, from revaluation of own forces and opportunities. All these prerequisites we COMPLETELY EXCLUDE in our work - ours Rock-climbing, Ice climbing and Mountaineering are based on one Principle - the Safety Priority. In rock-climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing, the Priority of Safety of MCS AlexClimb-is your personal security and comfort irrespective of, than we are engaged - we train muscles and we work technology of the movement in the sports hall and on the rock climbing wall, we make the way through snowstorm to top or we relax on golden sand of the Caribbean beach after hot day of trainings on rocks. The Safety priority - the main credo of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb.

AlexClimb Rule #2 - Leave No Trace

Closely interacting with Nature, working with the active programs in mountains, woods, lakes and rivers, we perfectly understand the importance of carefull and respectfull bahavior towards the Nature, for its resources. From the very beginning of our outdoor-activity we adopted rules of  Leave No Trace technique - the standard of behavior of the person accepted in all the civilized world in relation to environment and especially - to the wild nature. After all on the relation of people to the nature near which they exist, itself can draw dalekoidushchy conclusions on the relation of these people to... Where and as we didn't travel - we don't reserve any garbage, we try to reduce whenever possible our influence on environment to a minimum. We clear earlier zagryazyonny tourist parking of the left garbage, we take out and we take out to utilization places that to us other people left there. We consider that only thus, at personal individual consciousness of each citizen, each tourist, climber or autotraveller, we will be able to keep the nature surrounding us in its state, natural, suitable for life, - in it pledge of the healthy future for ourselves and our children.

AlexClimb Rule #3 - Sober Concious

The position of AlexClimb Mountain and rockclimbing School regarding healthy lifestyle is quite clear - we consider that only sober consciousness is capable to fill sincere emotions,  to sympathize, to enjoy life in all its variety. Bright various enjoyable life is possible only on condition of keeping the absolute sobriety and purity of consciousness. Any way of obscuring our perception of reality is intended to do harm to our consciousness and bring harm to our physical health, to replace the true values by false ones, to destroy us physically - to turn us into flabby, weak, senseless, gray herd with empty hazy eyes. We don't force anybody to our point of view, everyone has a God's gift of making his own choice and to destroy himself if that is what he wants... But in AlexCilimb Mountain Climbing School we accept quite certain and very simple set of rules: neither alcohol, nor drugs.
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